You must be eager to travel lightly while exploring! We at Mount Dora Pedego are aware of your desire for adventure, novel vistas, and healthy entertainment. The beauty of Florida’s scenery and its intriguing trails beckon as the world continues to open up.
Can I take an electric bike on a trail in Florida? Where is it legal to ride an e-bike? Can you ride your e-bike on trails & sidewalks? Please read on to find more information.
How Does Florida Law Apply to E-Bikes?
Florida is one of four states (Delaware, Iowa, and Nebraska) that define electric bicycles within the broader definition of “bicycle”. Florida Statute 316.003(4) defines BICYCLE as generally a two-wheeled vehicle propelled “solely by human power” or “by a combination of human power and electric helper motor” up to a speed of “not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground…”.
Can I Take An Electric Bike on a Trail in Florida?
Yes is the clear-cut response. On almost all Florida trails, electric bikes are permitted. However, before buying a bike or making travel arrangements, it is imperative to conduct adequate research and consider your unique needs. You should make sure that the type of e-bike you own or are considering enables you to explore trails in safety.
Class 1 E-bike
Pedal assistance but no throttle are features of Class 1 electric bikes. In order for the pedal assistance (PA) to function, you must be pedaling. You can travel at a speed of up to 20 mph, which is excellent for trails.
Class 2 E-bike
A Class 2 electric bike does not have pedal assistance; it only has a throttle. You can only go 20 mph, just like a Class 1 e-bike. Class 2 differs from Class 1 in that the throttle can be operated without having to pedal.
Class 3 E-bike
Although the Class 3 electric bike also has pedal assistance, it is faster! A Class 3 e-bike can travel up to 28 mph rather than reaching a top speed of 20 mph.
Read about How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go?
Type of E-Bike is Allowed on Florida Trails
The Florida State Parks website states that electric bikes are permitted on trails. However, each local government upholds particular laws for each region. So make sure to do your local research before embarking on a trail trip.
In Florida, you are able to ride a Class 1 electric bike in most places. The Class 1 e-bike, as mentioned above, uses pedal assistance and has a top speed of 20 mph on a level trail.
If you’re unsure whether a particular trail permits e-bikes, check with the local government or even the park’s website since the rules are usually posted there.
Where is It Legal to Ride An E-bike?
By state law, electric bikes may be operated in the exact same locations as regular bicycles. Electric bikes are allowed on “any road, path or way that is open to bicycle travel.” This means that they can be used on sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, limited access highways, and roads. Local governments may, however, enact their own ordinances.
Beginning on May 4, 2018, Fort Myers Beach has prohibited e-bikes.
Park land and their trails are difficult to access. For instance, except on paved roads and in designated areas, most national parks do not permit cycling, including e-biking. Mountain bikes are permitted on specific off-road trails in some parks, including Acadia National Park in Maine. Park regulations do not allow e-bikes on those same “carriage roads”. E-bikes are permitted in some state parks, including Alafia River State Park, Fort Clinch State Park, and Jonathan Dickson State Park. The International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) policy is in favor of allowing pedal-assist electric bikes access to some trails.
Can You Ride Your E-Bike on Trails & Sidewalks?
The fact that bicycles in general are allowed to be used on sidewalks is another thing to take into account. In some urban areas of cities like Sarasota or St. Louis, however, bicycles and e-bikes are both prohibited. Augustine, where the large number of visitors makes it dangerous for everyone to ride bicycles on the sidewalks. By enacting this e-bike law, Florida granted local governments the authority to regulate e-bikes on sidewalks within their respective borders. As a result, you must confirm whether or not you can ride your electric bike in the areas where you live and commute.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fantastic trail system we have in Florida, which is extensive and keeps getting better. Typically, e-bikes are allowed on the main trails. However, some trails, like the Sun Trail, are shared-use and non-motorized. So there is a question about whether you can ride an e-bike on a non-motorized trail. You don’t want to get a ticket for using an e-bike on a trail that doesn’t allow them.
Read about How Much Does An Electric Bike Cost?
Florida EBike Regulations & Insurance to Protect Yourself
You don’t need a tag, a driver’s license, or any particular insurance to ride a bicycle in Florida, so it’s crucial to understand all these rules and regulations. However, if you purchase an electric vehicle—or, if you prefer, a bicycle—capable of traveling at speeds greater than 28 mph, you may be required to have a tag, special insurance, and a driver’s license.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, just like when riding a bicycle, there is a risk of being hit by a car when riding an electric bike on a public road. Florida has a significant issue because drivers of cars, trucks, and vans are not required to purchase bodily injury liability insurance. In the event of an injury, that could result in no insurance payout.
Therefore, you can protect yourself by adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy. That will shield you from drivers who lack liability insurance or who have some but not enough to cover the full amount of your claim as a cyclist. Both conventional bicycles and e-bikes, as defined by Florida’s three-tier classification law, are protected by this kind of insurance.
Who May Ride An E-bike in Florida?
In Florida, children under age 16 may not drive or ride an e-bike, called an “electric helper motor” bicycle.
Do You Have to Use a Bicycle Helmet When Riding An E-bike?
E-cyclists (by definition over the age of 16) are not required to wear a helmet.